Srinagar, October 10: We are passing through very turbulent times. Amid the situation wherein banking industry across the country reels under huge volumes of Non-Performing Assets and continuing unrest across Kashmir valley; strengthening and cleansing of the bank’s balance sheet shall remain our top priority for the next six quarters.

Setting the tone for his first term as Chairman and CEO J&K Bank Parvez Ahmad stated this at a jam-packed press conference held here at the bank’s corporate headquarters. He was flanked by the Executive President Abdul Rauf Bhat and Senior Presidents M. S. Wani & S. K. Bhat

Hinting out at some difficult decisions in the offing, Chairman Parvez Ahmad asserted, “Stability of the bank shall be our focus in the next six quarters. In order to improve the bottom-line growth, we may not book profits, pay dividends or taxes. There may be no contributions to CSR spending. For the provisioning coverage ratio has to be improved at any cost as it has nosedived from more than 90 pc to merely 50 pc.”

However, he assured the investors of decent returns on their investments in the bank.

Putting forward the approach to resolution of NPAs besides recovery in stressed assets, he said, “We are gearing up to resolve and recover the bad assets (9.3 pc) and stressed assets (10 pc), through available mechanisms like legal recourse, one-time settlements or selling them off to Asset Reconstruction Companies.

On bank’s future strategies, Parvez Ahmad asserted, “After taking stock of the situation, we have devised a comprehensive plan and re-oriented our strategies to meet new challenges.

The centre-piece of the strategy would be moderating growth targets (10-15 pc) with asset-quality at its heart for the rest of India, while as building further upon our lending profile within the state.

For, in J&K we are more into the development of economy as a whole rather than a bank merely selling its products and services against certain returns.”

Speaking about the bank’s position on impact of current unrest on the valley’s traders and businessmen he said, “We know that the current unrest has led to the drying up of cash flows of our borrowers here and we remain committed to support them in every possible way.”

We have already moved an application for appropriate measures to RBI in this regard, he added.

He assured the audience that there will be marked improvement in bank’s customer services including the upgradation in services and updating of product offerings designed to meet specific requirements of customers.

When asked about the current situation and its impact on the economic activity in Kashmir, Chairman J&K Bank said, “We have a rich experience of working and reporting growth in fragile situation for more than two decades now. We will overcome this situation as well” 

Responding to a query from a journalist regarding the bank’s recruitment plans, he said, “J&K Bank is the second major employer in the state after the government and we will continue to be so in future.”